Assemblyman Kevin Byrne (R,C,I,SAM,ROS-Mahopac) is pleased to report legislation he co-sponsored in the Assembly introduced by Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (A6395b) to establish a special opioid settlement fund for settlement agreements with the state passed the Legislature and was signed into law by the Governor earlier this week on Tuesday, June 29th.
“Over the last several decades, our country has needlessly lost hundreds of thousands of Americans to opioid addiction,” said Byrne. “It is vital we have a state mechanism to hold entities accountable for malfeasance when it comes to inappropriate distribution or marketing of these highly addictive pharmaceuticals. The need for this law is even more significant given the recently announced Johnson & Johnson settlement by Attorney General Letitia James. We cannot allow these funds to get sucked up into the general fund. Furthermore, opioid settlement funds must go towards helping and treating those who were wronged by years of injustice by supplementing services— not supplanting existing programs or plugging state budget gaps. This new law will help make sure the funds collected through litigation are used for the purposes of substance-use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery services. This is a critical step for New Yorkers in the fight against addiction and inappropriate opioid use. I thank Assemblywoman Woerner for introducing this legislation, as well as all others involved who helped make this needed change happen.”
This legislation was introduced in the Assembly by Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner (D-Round Lake). It passed through several Assembly committees, including Ways & Means with Assemblyman Byrne’s support, and ultimately passed the Assembly and Senate on June 9, 2021 with sweeping bipartisan support. Governor Cuomo signed the bill into law on June 29, 2021.